In 1977, a young girl by the name of Colleen Stan was kidnapped by a deranged couple in Eugene, Oregon. For the next seven years, the young girl was used as a sex slave for the couple’s twisted fantasies, being forced to live in a coffin beneath the bed of her abductors. Her story is one of the most tragic in history.
May 19th 1977. Eugene, Oregon. 20-year-old Colleen Stan was on her way to a birthday party in California. She had decided to hitchhike – something she had done successfully many times in the past. However, the first vehicle to stop and offer Stan a lift was a blue van driven by a man named Cameron Hooker.
In the passenger seat sat Cameron’s wife, Janice Hooker and their newborn baby in the back seat. Stan, noticing the baby, assumed the vehicle to be safe. Unfortunately, this would be the last time Colleen Stan enjoyed any kind of freedom for the next seven years.
At one point during their trip, the Hookers stopped at a garage to let Stan use the restroom. She debated whether or not to return to the vehicle, eventually making the life-changing decision that she would. When she returned to the car, she found a homemade BDSM-style head box in the backseat of the car which wasn’t there beforehand. She made no mention of it to Cameron or Janice Hooker, however, this was a piece of equipment that Colleen Stan would become very acquainted with.
When Cameron Hooker had driven his vehicle to a suitably-isolated location, he pulled a knife and held it to Stan’s throat. That same night, he raped her in the back of his vehicle while his wife and child were present. Then, Cameron continued on to his and Janice’s home in Red Bluff, California with Stan restrained in the back of their car. Cameron had blindfolded, handcuffed and gagged Stan, then attached the box to her head.
The box was a wooden cube which was a very tight fit around Stan’s head. It had been purposely designed by Cameron Hooker to be soundproof, claustrophobic, sensory-depriving and to instill a sense of suffocation in the wearer. The box was placed over the head and then clasped shut at the neck. It was likely tested on Janice Hooker for reference beforehand.
Cameron and Janice Hooker had previously arranged a ‘deal’ with each other. If Cameron could kidnap a slave, he would allow her to take Janice’s place as his submissive sex toy. Up until the capture of Colleen Stan, Janice Hooker was the one who had been acting as her husband’s slave to act out sexual bondage.
When Stan was brought back to the Hooker household, she was immediately strung up by her wrists before Cameron removed the BDSM box from her head. When suitably restrained, Cameron repeatedly whipped Stan while Janice watched. Once her beating had finished, Cameron and Janice made love beneath her battered, strung-up body.
The same night, Cameron forced Stan into a homemade coffin he had purposely built for his next slave. It was barely big enough to conceal Stan inside, however, it was the location she would spend the majority of the next seven years of her life.
This coffin is where Stan would be force to live in for 23 hours a day. She was removed sparingly, each time to endure incredible torture at the hands of Cameron. The implements which Cameron used to inflict pain upon her were reminiscent of medieval torture devices, all of which Cameron had purposely built. The original purpose of these devices was to assist in his BDSM-style games with his wife, but later transitioned them into pure torture instruments.
In November of the same year, the Hookers allowed Stan to carry out small chores around the home, of which she was forced to perform naked. Stan was punished for even the slightest infractions; speaking, making noises, asking for food or water. She was regularly sexually abused by Cameron and tortured for Cameron’s sexual pleasure. She was whipped, suspended from ceilings, forced to work in horrific conditions, and forced to remain in her box in the blistering summer heat - of which temperatures could reach over 100 degrees.
On January 25th, Cameron informed Stan that he was a member of a large organisation known as “The Company”. The group, he told her, was made up of high-profile figures from the world of politics, government law enforcement and media, and that they had constant eyes watching her. The name of the company comes from the erotic novel ‘Story of O’, a notable source of inspiration for Cameron.
He told Stan that The Company took women as hostages and sold them for profit. He claimed that they used high-tech surveillance to keep tabs on their victims, and that escaping would ensure the deaths of the person’s friends and relatives.
Cameron then forced Stan to sign a contract which assured her position as Cameron’s slave. Bizarrely, however, was that Cameron referred to himself as “Michael Powers”, and his wife as “Janice Powers” in the contract. Stan was referred to simply as “K”.
Eventually, the Hookers allowed Stan mild freedom to assist them in their chores. Stan was free to leave the Hooker household and go out exercising in the street. She was able to work in their front garden and look after the Hookers’ children. Even with more than enough freedom to easily escape their clutches, Stan’s fear of “The Company” refrained her from taking the plunge.
Even more incredible was that in 1981, Stan was allowed to return home to her family, but did not reveal that she had been kidnapped due to fear of repercussion from the Hookers. Her family had, until now, believed that she had been involved in cult activity (around the late seventies and early eighties, cults were responsible for a large percentage of missing people) due to her long silence and her shabby image, but her family didn’t pressure her for fear she may never return to them again.
Perhaps the most bizarre occurrence throughout Stan’s entire ordeal was that, the following day after visiting her family, she returned again. This time, with Cameron Hooker by her side, whom she introduced to her family as her boyfriend.
The fact that Stan was surrounded by her family, along with the man who had forcefully taken her livelihood from her and reduced her to a sex slave, is a testament to the incredible levels of Stockholm syndrome Stan was suffering, as well as evidence of Hooker’s manipulation tactics at work. The family even took a photograph of Cameron and Stan smiling happily together. The picture has since become synonymous with the case.
When the pair returned to Cameron’s home, Cameron feared that he may have afforded his slave too much freedom. The girl who was smiling happily with her family that morning was then banished to her coffin underneath Cameron and Janice’s bed for 23 hours a day. It would remain this way for another three years.
The contract which Cameron Hooker had forced Stan to sign initially said that there was to be no penetrative sex between Cameron and Stan, a term which Cameron very quickly violated.
Immediately, Janice saw this as a betrayal of trust by Cameron. He was regularly raping Stan, instilling the idea to Janice that Cameron was falling in love with her. In the Hookers’ back yard, Cameron had just finished digging out a pit below his shed which would be the new location for Stan’s box. Noticing that the pit was big enough to conceal more people, Cameron suggested to Janice that they acquire several more slaves in addition to Stan.
In May 1984, Cameron even allowed Colleen Stan to take up a part-time job. Using the alias “Kay Powers”, Stan took up employment as a cleaner at a local motel. Cameron also allowed Stan to attend religious services with Janice, although he was unaware that this would be his eventual downfall.
Over time, Stan and Janice became closely acquainted, despite their obvious hostility towards one another. Although Stan wasn’t aware, Janice had suffered the same conditions as Stan had years previously.
Janice would drive Stan to bars in Red Bluff, where Janice would drink with her and vent her jealousy by picking up strangers and sleeping with them. Still, Stan didn’t dare escape due to fear of The Company taking the lives of her loved ones.
When Janice found out that Cameron was prowling the streets taking photographs of women he had planned to abduct, Janice saw this as a further betrayal. She was now at breaking point. She already felt extreme jealousy at her husband’s affection towards Stan. She decided that it was time to end things.
Colleen Stan’s escape
When Cameron wasn’t around, Janice confessed to Stan that she had also suffered traumatic beatings, suffocation, torture and brainwashing at the hands of Cameron Hooker. In August 1984, Janice finally revealed to Stan that there was no such thing as “The Company”. It was an invention of Cameron’s imagination in order to keep Stan imprisoned.
Immediately, Colleen Stan fled the Hooker household. She called up Cameron Hooker from a bus stop and told him she was leaving him. Cameron burst into tears and pleaded with her not to go. She ignored his pleas, stating: “I’m leaving, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” before finally returning home to her family after seven years of horrific abuse.
Initially, Stan didn’t inform the police about what she had suffered at the Hooker residence. Instead, she kept in contact with Janice Hooker to give her ample opportunity to ‘reform’. Several months later, Janice reported her husband herself. She informed authorities that not only had Cameron abducted Colleen Stan and tortured her for seven years, he was also responsible for the 1976 murder of a woman named Marie Elizabeth Spannhake. True to Janice’s claims, there was indeed an unsolved missing person’s case matching the same details which had Janice had given.
Colleen Stan’s horrific ordeal eventually came to light under Janice’s confession. Janice testified against her husband in court for full immunity, resulting in his imprisonment under charges of sexual assault, kidnapping and weapon usage. Cameron Hooker was sentenced to 104 years behind bars.
Development of Stockholm Syndrome in Colleen Stan
The case of Colleen Stan is a fascinating study in the effects of Stockholm syndrome, in particular the imagined mental barriers which her captor had put in place. His bizarre invention “The Company” is, to most rational minds, a ludicrous prospect. However, as with the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard, Colleen Stan’s rational mind had been broken down by the prospect of her demise should she not co-operate with Cameron Hooker’s requests.
With this fear rooting her in place as Cameron Hooker’s slave, Stan had no choice but to obey his every command. However, what’s interesting in this case is not the development of Stockholm syndrome towards Cameron, but the development of it towards Janice.
At the point that Janice Cameron informed Stan that “The Company” didn’t exist, she immediately fled the confines of her prison without a second thought. This suggests that Stockholm syndrome had not manifested itself regarding genuine affection towards Cameron as she was happy to never see him again, nor did she defend him when the time came to testify against him.
However, Stan kept the Hookers’ activities a secret for three months following her escape. This was a tactic to help Janice Hooker create a better life for herself. If Stan had immediately informed authorities of the horrors lurking at the Hooker residence, it’s a high likelihood Janice would have been punished in a similar manner to her husband.
Yet, despite Janice contributing to Stan’s torture over the seven years she was confined, Stan did all she could to protect her following her release. There is no explanation for why other than she felt a genuine connection to Janice, perhaps because she represented the maternal figure throughout Stan’s imprisonment, as well as being the person who was the catalyst to her release.
Stan was pulled between informing the authorities of her ordeal and risk subjecting Janice to a similar fate as Cameron, or maintaining her silence in the hopes that Janice – a woman who had forced Stan through a living hell for seven years – would escape as she had.
Following her ordeal, Colleen Stan returned to her hometown of Oregon. She has married, had children and started her own organisation to help abused women. She now lives under a different name.
Janice Hooker was cleared of any charges of her involvement in Cameron Hooker’s crimes. She now lives a free woman in California under a different name, and for that, she has only one woman to thank...